PURPOSE: This study aimed to evaluate economic viability of public health center visiting nurse services for the low-income elderly with long-term care needs. METHOD: The sample consisted of 252 community dwelling elderly who enrolled in public health center visiting nurse services for three months or more. Data was collected on physical (ADL and IADL) and cognitive impairments of the elderly, contents and frequency of visiting nurse services, cost per visit, and costs of alternative services for long-term care. RESULT: The mean score of ADL and IADL levels of the elderly was 2.80.4904, which indicated these patients were mostly independent. Eighty four percent of the elderly subjects were cognitively intact. Among visiting nurse services supplied, providing assessment was 34%, followed by education and counseling 26%, medication 22%, and referral. The mean cost per visit was 17,824.1 won, which transformed into a total cost per person per year of 161,130.2 won. Comparing the cost of a visiting nurse service with those of other long-term care alternatives, the visiting nurse service was the least costly alternative, followed by an outpatient clinic, hospital based home care, and nursing home. CONCLUSION: Overall, the results of the study provide evidence of the economic viability of visiting nurse services for the low-income elderly among long-term care alternatives.
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